Minimum Wage Decision - $26 a Week Pay Rise Welcomed by Unions

03 June, 2010

Today’s pay decision from Fair Work Australia for 1.4 million award-dependent workers breaks the drought after a wage freeze of almost two years under the Howard Government’s wage-setting tribunal.
 
The $26 a week minimum wage rise will help working families meet increases in the cost of living after having been left behind under WorkChoices.
 
The AMIEU welcomes the first decision from the new Fair Work Australia Minimum Wage Panel, which gives low-paid workers a pay rise.
 
AMIEU Secretary Graham Bird said the new wage-setting body within Fair Work Australia had accepted the Unions' case for a decent increase and rejected the position of the employers who were arguing for a minimum wage rise.
 
ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said “Today’s decision is a very good outcome for workers that goes towards restoring the real value of wages for the lowest paid and vulnerable members of the workforce.”
 
“It delivers the decent rise to minimum wages that working families need and is further indication that working Australians are much better off under the Labor Government’s new Fair Work laws.
 
“Under the so-called Fair Pay Commission set up by the Howard Government as part of WorkChoices, minimum award wages fell by as much as $97.75 a week.
 
“Last year’s wage freeze was the last gasp of WorkChoices and was an insult to the contribution working Australians make to our economy, which sent the living standards of the lowest paid workers even further backwards.
 
“Today’s decision will restore some equity and fairness into our economy.”
 
Workers in Retail/Butcher Shops, Smallgoods Manufacture, Abattoirs etc who are paid on the Federal Meat Industry Award 2010 are entitled to a pay rise of $26 a week after 1 July 2010.
 
The ACTU successfully argued that the recovery of the Australian economy with forecasts of strong GDP and jobs growth made a compelling case for a decent rise to minimum wages even more compelling.
 
As Fair Work Australia said "Our review of economic conditions indicates that since March 2008 the Australian economy has performed much better than expected. During that time, productivity, prices and real earnings have grown but minimum wages have not. There is a strong case for a rise in minimum wages to provide a fair and relevant safety net, protect the relative living standards of award-reliant employees and assist the low paid to meet their needs."